Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Sandy Hook is latest time to finally have gun control discussion

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While many questions pour from the horrific Connecticut school shooting, the one question that comes up in all of these mass shootings is “Will this be the time that we finally start changing the gun laws?”

Columbine was horrible but that didn’t change anything. You would think the assassination attempt on a sitting Congresswoman would unnerve Congress into doing something. Or the Aurora movie theater shooting. Or Virginia Tech.

Something did feel different about the Sandy Hook shooting. True, young children died in the other shooting. A 9-year-old girl died in Tucson. A 6-year-old girl died in the Aurora shooting.

Was it finding out that the kids were shot more than once? Was it that the authorities took pictures of the kids faces so the parents could identify them rather than seeing the horrible damage to their little bodies? Was it that the teachers and principal who lost their lives trying to stop the gunman? Was it the idea of kids hiding in closets and teachers pleading with students to be quiet until the good guys could show up?

Was it that all the kids were 6 and 7 years old? Was it that the number of students killed was 20? Was it that next year’s 2nd grade and the following year’s 3rd grade are essentially gone from this school?

Was it that the damage was so bad that almost all of those who were shot were killed. Think about that. Even in the coverage of the shooting, we didn’t hear much about the wounded. Two kids made it to the hospital before dying from their wounds. Ambulances were turned away before the carnage was that thorough and devastating.

The Dems in Washington have run away from this issue since the assault weapons ban expired. Up to now, President Barack Obama hasn’t shown much desire to use any political capital on this issue. For all the cries about “a black president taking guns away from white people,” Obama’s track record on guns to this point has gone against the wishes of his base.

At least Dems want to do something on gun control, loopholes, assault weapons. Finding a Republican who wants to tackle these issues is as likely as Honey Boo Boo taking etiquette lessons.

We could run a list of suggestions and requirements to improve the gun attitude in the United States. Closing gun show loopholes and bringing back the assault weapon ban would make a huge difference. When we mean “assault weapons ban,” that would be one without the loopholes of the 1994 bill.

The conservatives, political and non-political, have their usual cries. “This isn’t the right time to talk about this.” “Criminals don’t pay attention to gun control laws.”

They are right on one point: laws won’t be enough. Loopholes and an assault weapons ban will help greatly, but they aren’t enough. Those on the left try to fight conservatives directly on the gun issue, but forget that conservatives don’t even offer a non-gun solution.

Why aren’t conservatives fighting for more money for mental health coverage? Why aren’t conservatives fighting to make things easier for those with mental issues to get help through our convoluted health care system? If conservatives don’t think guns are the issue, ask them what else can we do?

To say that nothing can be done about this, that these shootings are just going to happen is the ultimate cop-out. Tuning out what happened at Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO, Tucson, Columbine, Virginia Tech isn’t going to work. Or so we hope. The question is whether those that want to make things better will spend political capital, and whether those who don’t want to make things better can offer solutions, even if they don’t involve gun control.

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